Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lessons From Mrs. Pac Man

When I was a kid in the 80's, I handled the video game craze with a lot of intensity. I'm talking pre-Atari. My neighborhood friends and I used to walk to the local Kwik Sak and play Mrs. Pac Man, Frogger, Centipede, and some of those space ones.

I do not react very well to being chased. I never have. When I was a kid, if someone was chasing me for play, my mind and body together experienced way too much anxiety. Oddly, my experience playing Mrs. Pac Man was no different. The object is for the Pac Man to eat all of the dots on the screen, and avoid getting killed by the 4 ghosts who were chasing it. There were 4 opportunities on each level for the Pac Man to kill the ghosts. My strategy was simple.....eat the dots, forget the ghosts. It sounds fine until the take the score into consideration. You don't score very well if you don't kill the ghosts. You can run forever. You can eat the dots. And you can advance levels. But unless you eat the ghosts, you do all of this with very little reward. This is the run and survive method.

As a kid playing that game, I can remember my friends would stand and watch me and they would scream for me to get the ghosts. They got it. They knew that method would give me a higher score. I still didn't care. I just wanted to survive.

4 weeks ago when Nashville flooded, I bought the Mrs. PacMan app for my iPhone. I am not into video games whatsoever. I did this because I needed something to occupy my mind because my thoughts were toxic. I learned something about myself immediately when I began playing Mrs. PacMan to distract my thoughts. I am no longer running from ghosts just trying to survive. Amen. Now I attempt to precisely move through life, conquer the ghosts, and advance to the greatest treasure that I can possibly accumulate. Sometimes now, I will face that ghost head on, move right toward it, and then cut it off at the pass, in an effort to win extra fruitful treats along the way. Oh, did I not mention the fruit? Mrs. PacMan also has fruit with very high values. Fruit. Fruitful stuff. The fruit only shows up on occasion and it's important to be fruitful to improve your score.

The other thing I learned from my Mrs. PacMan app on my iPhone is that it is all mine. I'm not competing with anyone. I'm just always trying to outdo myself. There is no spirit of competition. I'm just trying to be fruitful.

I wish there were a Donkey Kong app for my iPhone. I did use to enjoy throwing barrels on the heads of the oppressors.

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